No Answers, More Questions After Latest WVU Loss
MORGANTOWN, W.VA. — Bob Huggins and the West Virginia nation that follows him and his basketball team are caught in their own “Groundhog Day” hell.
Another day just like the last one.
Another game, another loss.
It’s become “Jeopardy” with all answers and no questions.
It’s “Deal or No Deal” except every briefcase has $10 in it.
It’s “To Tell the Truth” but everyone is lying.
This time it was Oklahoma State.
Question: Which team was picked unanimously to finish last in the Big 12?
Answer: Oklahoma State.
Final score, Cowboys 85, West Virginia 75.
They win an all-expenses paid trip home to Stillwater, Oklahoma. WVU gets the consolation of prize of last place in the Big 12.
They stand 0-4 in the Big 12 and at .500 overall at 8-8. It doesn’t look like there is any end in sight, as TCU is next, a team that is 12-2, and then Kansas, which is 13-2.
“It’s been an incredibly trying and frustrating year for a lot of reasons,” Huggins said from the ashes of defeat. “We had Sags (Sagaba Konate), then we didn’t have Sags, then we had Sags again, and now we haven’t had Sags for a long time.”
The league’s top shot blocker finally is off crutches but his knee still has him in street clothes and limping as he walks.
“We had Beetle (guard Beetle Bolden), then we didn’t have Beetle. You can’t do anything about injuries. It’s just like they healed up enough to play, then they get hurt again. It’s hard to get any continuity that way,” Huggins went on.
It became a replay of “Survivor.”
Do they need Bolden? Take a look at this game. He got two early fouls, Huggins had to protect him in the first half and he scored two points during the first 20 minutes.
He came out and scored 29 in the second 20 minutes and finished with 31.
The last WVU player to score 30 in a game was Esa Ahmad, who scored 30 earlier this year.
Saturday, he never got of the bench, sitting there with Wes Harris as Huggins felt he needed to bench those two starters to try and get a spark.
Now he has to try to keep things from becoming a “Family Feud”.
“I don’t hold grudges and I don’t want anyone to hold a grudge against me. It was something I thought I had to do. It’s over with now. Now we move forward,” he said.
Is there a way out?
Perhaps. Huggins told his team the tale of last year’s Oklahoma State team that lost its first six league games and went on to make the NCAA Tournament.
What he didn’t tell them was that now WVU team lost its first four conference games since 2002 when Gale Catlett’s team went 8-20, 1-17 in the Big 12.
Yet he believes it could happen.
“I do think we are talented enough to go on a run, but we haven’t shown that,” he said.
If this team is to recover, it must be around Bolden and Derek Culver, the freshman who plays like a senior.
Culver had another double-double, his third, and Huggins knows he has something special here.
But it has changed the team just has the absence of Konate has.
“You’re trying to coach our team, but at the same time you’re trying to teach him what he needs to do to be able to help us,” Huggins said. “It’s been worth it. What did he end up with? 15 and 15? That’s a pretty good day’s work, particularly when we don’t throw him the ball.
“It’s just been hard.”
It’s almost become like he’s trying to find the answer to “The $64,000 Question”